The Mississippi State Health Department is committed to improving birth outcomes, including the rates of preterm birth, low birth-weight births, infant deaths and maternal deaths in our state.
In addition to the services for women and infants provided through MSDH, we are collaborating with other State and national experts, clinicians, community organizations and families to promote evidence-based practices and policies across the state to improve birth outcomes. At the center of all strategies is a focus on building collaborative partnerships, using data to drive practices and reducing disparities between all populations.
Mississippi has established the following priority areas:
- Promote smoking cessation among pregnant women
- Promote infant safe sleep practices
- Expand access to interconception care through Medicaid
- Increase breastfeeding among all groups of women
Promote smoking cessation among pregnant women
Smoking or other tobacco use by the mother or in the mother's home can contribute to premature birth, low birth weight, and infant death. Pregnant women should receive evidence-based tobacco cessation counseling and support. The Office of Tobacco Control has special resources available to reduce smoking in pregnant women.
Promote Safe Sleep
Safe sleep practices – including putting infants to sleep alone, on their back, and in a crib – are a key part of preventing death in the first year of life from SIDS/SUID. Through its SIDS prevention program, MSDH is working to promote parent and community education about safe sleep environments.
Women should be as healthy as possible before they enter pregnancy. Interconception care focuses on reducing medical, social, and behavioral risk factors, particularly among women who have experienced a previous poor birth outcome such as a preterm birth or fetal/infant death.
Breastfeeding improves the nutritional status of infants, strengthens their brain development, and decreases their risk of diseases like asthma, obesity and diabetes. MSDH supports parent and community education about breastfeeding and hospital environments that support breastfeeding.
To learn more, or to become involved in the state workgroups to address these priority areas, contact Dr. Charlene Collier at Charlene.Collier@msdh.ms.gov